While Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, Instagram has had a blast in recent years. Between September 2017 and June 2018, Instagram went from 800 million to one billion monthly active users. Half of these (500 million) use the platform every day. It would be a waste not to use Instagram to connect with your audience and increase sales.
Without further ado, let's see how you can leverage these numbers and get started with Instagram marketing.
Why restaurants need Instagram to be successful
First of all, 38% of Instagram users watch food content, and 27% of users share food content. #food appears in over 250 million posts a month, and foodies enter Instagram about 18 times a day. It is clear that food on Instagram is very popular, and restaurants can use it to their advantage.
A look at Instagram's demographics shows why you need the platform to build your restaurant's success. According to research, 72% of teens use Instagram.
Teens seem to like Instagram's focus on visual communication. They are more interested in sharing photos and videos than long text posts.
Videos may just be the future of marketing. Recent video marketing statistics reveal that, as we speak, over 85% of Internet users are watching videos online. Additionally, 3 out of 4 customers say the video convinced them to buy or download an app or software. Hence, videos have huge potential for your business.
Right now, teens probably don't play a significant role in your restaurant's success. They might get their parents to take them to certain restaurants for family dinners, but teens don't have much money to spend.
Regardless, teens can help you build a restaurant with long-term success. In a few years, they will graduate, find work and have more money to spend. If they already love your restaurant, they will want to spend that money on breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
So why is Instagram specifically important for restaurants? Instagram offers benefits you won't get from other social media. Food posts on Instagram are one of the most involved types of posts. When you learn to harness the power of those posts, you can improve your brand visibility and increase sales.
The benefits of Instagram for restaurants
Smartphones on the market ten years ago took decent photos. Today's devices, however, are equipped with such advanced technology that several filmmakers have used smartphones to shoot movies.
Improved screens and cameras have changed the way people communicate. As phones get smarter, people use them less for making calls. Instead, they use them to take photos and videos and be in touch with the whole web world. 47% of Generation X say they send text messages every day.
Better cameras have also influenced how people share information on social media. Publishing a picture or short video often takes less time than typing text. As a result, images can say so much more.
It's just like the old saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words".
Instagram leverages this better than any other social media platform.
Instead of describing your daily speciality, you can take a picture of it and post it on Instagram. The sight of well-prepared food will tempt more customers to order from your restaurant.
Other benefits of Instagram for restaurants include:
· Restaurant Instagram captions that add valuable information to images
· Instagram stories for restaurants that make your business more customizable
· The opportunity to reply to customer posts and share restaurant reviews on Instagram
· Access to features that help you market your restaurant creatively
The more you think about Instagram marketing for restaurants, the more reasons you will find to use the platform for commercial purposes.
How to keep customers engaged on Instagram: Tips for restaurant Instagram marketing
Even if you have a lot of creative ideas, you will face a lot of competition from other restaurants that use Instagram well.
Following Instagram best practices for restaurants should help you keep your customers engaged. Unfortunately, there is no set of rules to follow.
You could ask a simple question like, "how often should a restaurant post on Instagram?" Well, some restaurants post once or twice a day. Others post more often on days when their customers are most responsive.
Since you don't know exactly what and when to post, you should learn about restaurant marketing ideas and trends following successful businesses.
Show off your most popular dishes
Post mouthwatering photos of your best, most popular or new dishes. For a more substantial impact, add a caption to the photo. It can include anything from:
· fun facts
· idyllic captions
· funny text
Use the restaurant's Instagram hashtags
Instagram is all about hashtags. However, not all hashtags are created equal. Some work better than others for restaurants. Here is a list of hashtags you can use in your posts to get more engagement:
Show customers your priorities: that is, emphasize the quality of your ingredients
Does your restaurant focus on something special, like using 0 km ingredients?
Show customers your priorities, so they understand your brand better. For example, you could post dessert captions for Instagram that contain a tag from the dairy where you get your milk. You might also stress the importance of getting dairy from a cruelty-free source. Emerging food trends focus on sourcing local fresh produce, healthy eating, and an emphasis on authentic items.
Post engaging videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is definitely worth a million. There is something like #foodporn on Instagram. Use it to post a video of a steaming plate of pasta or a spoon digging into a delicious cake.
Customers also love the behind-the-scenes look at the brands they love, so consider posting clips of your chef cooking a popular dish or your staff handling everything seamlessly in the kitchen.
Reply to your customers
When someone posts a photo of your restaurant or dishes, always interact quickly and respond with a quick note.
Something along the lines of "Thanks for sharing, [name]! It looks gorgeous!" has a personal touch and will make your customers feel part of a community.
Ask customers questions
A great way to get more engagement on your posts is to ask a question. The reference argument can be a "this or that?" with two of your dishes.
Advertise table reservations
If you offer the option to book a table at your restaurant, let your Instagram followers know. You can post a link to the table reservation widget in your bio, for example, as Instagram doesn't allow links in posts.
Instagram Stories have slowly but surely gained ground. Now, many people scroll through them; some even more than their feed would scroll. What it means to you is that you have to be present in the stories as well. That's how!
You shouldn't use Instagram Stories just to introduce customers. You can also use them to engage customers by asking them to rate things like their favourite dish at your restaurant or the one they'd like to see you add to your menu. This way, you not only get engagement, but you also get direct feedback that you can use to see which dishes work and refine your menu.
Organise Instagram giveaways and contests for restaurants
This is especially beneficial during major holidays or to advertise a special event. You can organize an Instagram exclusive contest or giveaway to get more traffic and followers to your page.
For example, come on Christmas, make a gift for a generous gift card that can be redeemed at your restaurant in December. To enter, people must follow your page.
Alternative to the Instagram action button
Selling food on Instagram can be difficult if you're not listed on any food ordering portal like Uber Eats or JustEat. However, suppose you want customers to be able to access your online ordering page directly from Instagram. In that case, a workaround for the Instagram action button promotes a post with a button linking to your website.
Advertise restaurant promotions
While you won't be able to promote all of your posts, you can still show your promotions on your feed and invite people to order from your website.
What is the best time to post on Instagram for restaurants?
It's not hard to guess - the best time to post on Instagram as a restaurant is when people are hungry. So at 9 am, between noon and 1 pm and 8 pm, people are likely to look at photos on their phones, trying to decide what to eat.
This is your chance to entice customers with a delicious-looking meal they can order at home or the office, or invite them to stop by and try it.
You can be one of those restaurants using social media successfully if you implement these Instagram marketing ideas for restaurants into your social media strategy.
They will help you create a fabulous social presence, so try them out as soon as possible.
Instagram has become a significant platform for businesses, including restaurants. With 500 million daily active users, half of the total one billion monthly active users, restaurants should not miss the opportunity to connect with their audience and increase sales through Instagram. Instagram users have a particular love for food content, with 38% of users watching food content and 27% sharing it. Instagram provides benefits that other social media platforms cannot offer, like visual communication and powerful food posts. The platform's advanced technology allows restaurants to post high-quality photos and videos, making their brand more visible and increasing sales. To keep customers engaged on Instagram, restaurants should post mouthwatering photos of their most popular dishes, use Instagram hashtags, emphasize the quality of their ingredients, and post engaging videos. By using these tips, restaurants can leverage Instagram marketing to increase brand visibility, connect with their audience, and boost sales.